Paula DeWit, (well-known as maestra of the White Rock Community Orchestra), is also new artistic director for the Handel Society of Music, for which she will conduct Handel’s oratorio masterwork Messiah, with full orchestra, choir and soloists, this Saturday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Peninsula United Church.

Paula DeWit, (well-known as maestra of the White Rock Community Orchestra), is also new artistic director for the Handel Society of Music, for which she will conduct Handel’s oratorio masterwork Messiah, with full orchestra, choir and soloists, this Saturday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Peninsula United Church.

THE SCENE

Arts and entertainment on the Semiahmoo Peninsula

Messiah

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a performance of Messiah, and Handel’s immortal 1741 oratorio will be sung and played in full on Saturday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Peninsula United Church, 2756 127 St., in a concert presented by the Handel Society of Music.

With choir and orchestra directed by the society’s new conductor, Paula De Wit (of White Rock Community Orchestra and Chilliwack Symphony fame), the performance will also feature Michelle Koebke (soprano), Lauren Pearl (alto), Thomas Lamont (tenor) and Andrew Greenwood (baritone).

Tickets ($25, $20 seniors and students, and children, 16 and under, free) are available online at handelsociety.ca, 604-591-2632, at Tapestry Music or Christopher’s Gift Gallery, and at the door.

Who Gets Grandma?

Ready for a “dysfunctional post-Christmas cabaret”?

Tickets are available now for Peninsula Productions’ Who Gets Grandma? running Dec. 27 and 28 at the company’s studio theatre in Centennial Park (14600 North Bluff Road).

Internationally-renowned piano player, vocalist and musical director Dominik Heins (who composed the original score for Peninsula’s 2017 hit Sea of Stories) teams with comedienne, writer, singer and storyteller Riel Hahn for this “evening of music, comedy and post-holiday cheer,” directed by Rebecca Walters (with original material by Hahn, Noel Bentley and Matthew Bissett).

It’s a salute to the kind of holiday chaos that should ring true for every family: with Christmas just over, Hanukkah nearly done and New Year’s Eve coming up fast, Santa’s job is on the line – and everyone’s wondering if anyone remembered to pick up Grandma.

Also featured in the farcical farrago are John Halliday, Val Dearden, Uma Kaler, Bryna McGarrigle and Ryan Kniel.

Tickets ($25, $20 seniors) are available from brownpapertickets.com

For more information, visit peninsulaproductions.org or call 604-536-8335.

Aladdin

White Rock Players Club’s Christmas pantomime (continuing to Dec. 29 at White Rock Playhouse) comes up a winner with a colourful version of the time-honoured classic Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.

Written by Chase Thomson and co-produced by Charles Buettner and Dann Wilhelm (Robin Hood and the Skytrain of Doom) – who also directs, the musical score features many classic Freddie Mercury/Queen and Elton John hits.

Adrian Shaffer thoroughly fits the bill as an appealing and tuneful Aladdin, with Sara Morales likeable as wilful Princess Jasmine, joined by always reliable laugh-getter Ray Van Ieperen (as the dame Widow Twankey), Reginald Pillay (hilarious as the Emperor) and Jake Hildebrand giving a powerhouse performance as the scheming villain Abenazar.

Also strong are Christopher Hall as an ultra-flamboyant Genie of the Lamp, Janelle Carss as the humorously conflicted Genie of the Ring, Paige Thomsen as Aladdin’s underappreciated brother Wishy Washy and Dianna Gola-Harvey as Jasmine’s eternally put-upon handmaiden Handy.

Tickets ($24, $20 seniors and students) are available from whiterockplayers.ca or call 604-536-7535.

Ellie King panto

Director/playwright Ellie King’s popular Royal Canadian Theatre Company pantomime returns to Surrey Arts Centre, 13750 88 Ave., from Dec. 20 to 29, with Snow White.

With traditional British-style book, music and lyrics by King and her husband (and partner-in-crime) Geoff, the panto – also featuring their son James as the dame, promises all the colour, razzle-dazzle and groaner puns that make pantos family fun each year.

Tickets are available online through the official website, rctheatreco.com or by phone, at 604-501-5566.

Blue Frog

White Rock’s popular intimate recording studio/live concert venue Blue Frog Studios (1328 Johnston Rd.) continues to promote concerts by world-class touring talents – including local and Lower Mainland-based acts.

Coming up next week (Dec. 28), tickets are still available for both shows for the tribute Ray Charles: The Spirit of Christmas, featuring dynamic singer Mike Henry.

For tickets and information on this and presentations scheduled for early in the new year, visit bluefrogstudios.ca

Club 240

Crescent Legion’s Club 240 (2643 128 St.) is the location for regular Live at Club 240 Friday-night dances, with a variety of bands presented by the Total Music Group (TMG, formerly Semiahmoo Music Consortium), along with other special Friday and Saturday events throughout the year and a regular Wednesday bluegrass jam.

Tickets should be booked early for the club’s New Year’s event on Dec. 31. This year it’s a night of music, dance and celebration bringing in the New Year with one of Vancouver’s premier bands: Big City Soul.

Offering a high-energy mix of new music and classic R&B, soul and funky `70s songs, the 10-piece band features lead vocalists Terry Raible and Joani Bye; guitarist Michael Toth, keyboardist Dan Bechard, bassist Johan Worst, drummer Steve Webb and powerhouse horn section Kevin Lee (trumpet), Colin Weinmaster (trombone), Terry Linburg (tenor sax), and Ken Abel (baritone sax).

The evening also offers one of the best deals in the Lower Mainland, including a prime rib buffet with options of chicken, fish or vegetarian dish, plus party favours and a glass of bubbly at midnight (there is also an open bar).

Tickets ($75 per person) are available at www.brownpapertickets.com (reserved seating only). Tickets for regular TMG dances (usually $20) in the new year are also on sale at brownpapertickets.com

For tickets and info on other events, call the legion box office (604-535-1043).

Fairy tale

Still looking for stocking-stuffers? Tickets are on sale now for a special New Year’s treat for all ages – Flamenco del Mar founder Jill Tunbridge’s live presentation of her original fairy tale Fairy of the Night and Still, which returns to White Rock Playhouse (1532 Johnston Rd.) in two performances (2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Jan. 4.

It’s a “performance art dance extravaganza,” featuring dancers from Flamenco del Mar (including Maria Avila, who has just returned from Spain) and narrated by yours truly, Alex Browne.

Also featured will be special guests Kat Siemens (as the Fairy), Diana Perry (as the Golden Falcon); belly dance troupe Shimmy for the Soul; and tango duo Patricia and Bobbi Lusic – with added magic supplied by ballerinas from Just for Kicks Dance.

For more information on the book – and other writing by Tunbridge – visit jilltunbridge.com

Tickets ($24, seniors $20, children $15) are available at the theatre box office (604-536-7535) or at whiterockplayers.ca

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